Cover Your Eyes: Lynne Littman’s ‘Testament’, 1983

1983 was a pretty fertile year for fictional nuclear apocalypses in Western popular culture. 2019: After the Fall of New York, Endgame, Exterminators of the Year 3000, Stryker, and Le Dernier Combat were released in cinemas, while ABC’s The Day After and Britain’s BBC2 adaptation of 1961 dystopian novel The Old Men at the Zoo, updated to feature a nuclear attack on London, appeared on television…

Spoiled Scions of the Middle Class: ‘Paninaro’ Magazine, 1986 – 1989

The Italy of the early 1980s was a country in a state of transformation. The post-war economic boom which had been particularly strong in the industrialized North of the country was peaking, and a generation of young people were rejecting the factional politics that, through the unresolved legacies of Fascism and Communism, continued to inform, and to some extent dictate, life in the country…

The Paranormal Peninsular: Mondadori’s ‘Guide to Legendary, Mysterious, Unusual and Fantastic Italy’

Being home to the Roman Catholic Church means that much of Italy’s spectral pomp and terror of the incomprehensible is already spoken for. The remaining quota of mystery and conspiracy is filled out by the country’s myriad crypto-political shenanigans and unsolved crimes. Despite the obsession of the Etruscans and ancient Romans with the shades of their ancestors, the Italy of the the ‘60s and ‘70s was an altogether more pragmatic place…

One Step Beyond: ‘Alpha: Probing the Paranormal’, 1979 – 1980

In one of the first episodes of BBC Scotland’s epochal 1979 paranormal drama series The Omega Factor, the program’s psychic protagonist can be seen sitting in his modish Manchester flat, leafing through a magazine with an aquamarine cover. The cover illustration shows a trombonist, the tubes of his instrument drooping in an evocation of psychokinetic metal-bending. That magazine was Alpha

‘Top of the Pops’ Christmas Special, 1979

For the pop-minded inhabitant of the British Isles in the late ’70s, the dull edifice of the passing weeks rested upon the two mighty, glowing columns that made it all bearable: the British Top 40 countdown, broadcast from 5:00 on BBC Radio 1 every Sunday evening (cancelled only once as a result of what would prove to be an inexplicably traumatic event for the nation: the 1997 death of Lady Diana) and Top of the Pops